Looks like Robotic FX is starting to act with a little more humility in an effort to stave off summary judgment against it and for iRobot in its patent infringement case alleging that the Negotiator robot is a copy of the PackBot.
In a filing last week, Xconomy reports, the company conceded that some sanctions are warranted other than nuking the company with a default judgment in iRobot's favor. (I'd say this is very good news -- Robotic FX must be VERY worried that the judge who issued the temporary restraining order will be very pissed at the story of Robotic FX CEO Jameel Ahed hiding a wiped/wiping? laptop under a bed just before U.S. Marshals arrived at Kimberly Hill's apartment to search for evidence.
"Robotic FX does not dispute that information potentially relevant to the present action may have been destroyed," the brief says. "Robotic FX acknowledges that Mr. Ahed’s actions were improper and concedes that reasonable sanctions may be appropriate under the circumstances."
(That seems a far cry from Ahed's 'memorabilia' hooey from his earlier testimony). The brief then seems to suggest that the judge should take pity on Ahed because he's only 29. (Could you imagine that defense in a murder case? "Judge, my client may have murdered somebody, but remember, he's only *29* -- he barely has any idea what he's doing...)
The brief also argues that just because he hid the laptop doesn't mean it was actually running the wipe program at the time! (So why hide it?)
At any rate, if Jameel Ahed is somehow too young and irresponsible to be accountable for his actions, I would pose that presumably he would also be too young and irresponsible to win a $280 MILLION CONTRACT! That reminds me, Army, it's time to get off your duff and decide once and for all whether you want to be partners with Ahed. The Army keeps saying that time is of the essence, but iRobot has said that it could be adding another shift and massively expanding its PackBot output right now, and certainly a lot faster than Ahed could have ramped up. Oh, and then there's that tidbit about how iRobot won an injunction against selling Negotiators too, so...
At any rate, speculation is that it could be mid-December before iRobot is *we hope* awarded the contract. (To read the long saga, click on the Robotic FX link below.)
Tags: iRobot, robot, Jameel Ahed, robot